While approximately 80% of meeting and event planners are female—a commonly accepted statistic that is also reflected in the gender makeup of Meetings Today’s audience—women are still woefully underrepresented in the C-suite.

This underrepresentation is even more pronounced in the hospitality industry as a whole.

Courtney Stanley (pictured) is one meetings and events industry trendsetter who is on a mission to change that.

A co-founder of the #MeetingsToo movement, which sparked a dialogue and affected change to prevent sexual harassment at meetings and events, Stanley also counts past and present leadership roles at major meetings industry organizations as part of her bona fides on women’s empowerment issues.

Meetings Today is proud to collaborate with Stanley to launch the monthly Dare to Interrupt podcast, with the first episode available January 23, 2020. The inaugural episode features Judi Holler, author of the best-selling book Fear Is My Homeboy and CEO of HOLLA! Productions.

To introduce the podcast—the first of its kind in the meetings built by women and for women—we asked Stanley to share her thoughts on the mission of the series.

Meetings Today: What do you hope to accomplish with the Dare to Interrupt podcast?

Courtney Stanley: My hope is that Dare to Interrupt serves as a catalyst for a series of ongoing important, life-changing conversations—not only between women in the meetings industry, but for all people in our community.

There are so many topics that we avoid or ignore because they feel faux pas or unrelatable. The reality is that many people share similar experiences and challenges and we just aren't talking about them. The secrets to success and living our most fulfilling life exist in everyday conversations that we are not consistently having. 

MT: Why is this topic important to women in the meetings and events industry?

Courtney Stanley, host of the new Meetings Today podcast Dare to InterruptCS: Though the meetings and events industry is mostly made up of women, we do not see that same representation at the top levels of leadership, and there are many reasons why.

There are many unique challenges that women across industries face time and time again yet do not talk about, including bullying, sexual harassment, imposter syndrome, fear, lack of balance, anxiety and so on.

I truly believe that many of the challenges we face can be solved if we just talk to one another and choose vulnerability, honesty and openness over ego, pride and competitiveness.

[Related: 6 Ways to Empower Women in the Workplace]

Dare to Interrupt provides women with a platform to share their own stories of adversity—uninterrupted—and pass along wisdom they have gathered on the road to success.

For the audience, this provides an opportunity to engage in moments of real, authentic mentorship with the most influential, successful women in the industry. 

MT: What background do you bring that informs you on this topic?

CS: I have had the opportunity to sit on MPI’s International Board of Directors and most recently led MPI’s global Women’s Advisory Board as co-chair. I also sit on the Association for Women in Events (AWE) Board of Directors and serve as an ambassador for Meetings Mean Business.

I am also a co-founder of SarahxCourtney, a partnership dedicated to creating content that emboldens women, and am the co-creator of #MeetingsToo, a movement sparked to create awareness and help meeting professionals prevent sexual harassment from taking place at events. Lastly, I am a member of the Events Industry Sexual Harassment Task Force. 

MT: How is this subject personally relevant to you?

Dare to Interrupt PodcastCS: Being able to facilitate and share such important dialogue with my peers is a true privilege. 

I believe we have an opportunity to learn from one another, to work together and to change the perspective of the world...but I also believe that sometimes we engage in certain behaviors and practice habits that may hold us back from being who we can really be.

I, too, am learning from the women who are featured on the podcast. Each episode teaches me life lessons that will empower and motivate me to also be my best self.

I have a passion for mentoring people; this podcast allows me to transform that passion into a much greater level of impact.

Listen to the first ever episode of Dare to Interrupt: Embracing Fear and Bossing Up


Subscribe to the Dare to Interrupt podcast and catch new episodes on the third Thursday of each month.